The openSUSE 13.1 Linux distribution is now available, providing users with improved performance and new features.
The new release follows the openSUSE 12.3 release by 8 months, which is right on schedule. The on-time release of openSUSE 13.1 stands in contrast to the openSUSE 12.2 release of September 2012, which was delayed by two months.
One of the reasons for the on-time release of openSUSE 13.1 stems from improvements in the development process that came from the openQA effort, which performs automated testing of openSUSE builds.
Agustin Bethencourt, openSUSE team lead at SUSE, told ServerWatch that the improvements done in openQA worked better than expected.
"We detected bugs earlier and our reports were more accurate thanks to the tool," Bethencourt said. "These improvements provided developers more time and better information to fix the problems. "
Bethencourt added that the number of bugs reported and fixed are higher in 13.1 than in previous releases. The openQA effort also enabled the project to increase its efforts in other areas like real hardware testing, documentation and translations, and as a result openSUSE is now more efficient than ever before.
"13.1 is the best release in a long time because, among other things, there has been no significant surprises during its development, integration and stabilization phases," Bethencourt said.
At the heart of the openSUSE 13.1 distribution is the Linux 3.11 kernel that first debuted in September of this year. The new kernel has a key focus on the ARM server architecture, which is reflected in the openSUSE 13.1 release.
"openSUSE on ARM is not yet as mature as on x86/x64, though we are making good and steady progress," Bethencourt said. "We are working to bring those improvements and new ones to openSUSE 13.1 and will announce them when they become fully available."
The Btrfs filesystem also benefits from new performance and stability. Bethencourt noted that Btrfs is already available for SUSE Linux Enterprise, so it is ready for production use-cases. SUSE recently announced that it was extending the support length for its SUSE Linux Enterprise release from seven to ten years.
"What we have done in openSUSE 13.1 is include new Btrfs features," Bethencourt said. " Some of them are ready for production environments and some still need more stabilization effort; this is why Btrfs is not the default file system in openSUSE 13.1."
Moving forward, Bethencourt explained that in the technical area, the next hot topic will come in December when the openSUSE community will discuss the introduction of significant changes in Factory to improve the current development process.
"The goal will be to evolve Factory into a bleeding-edge rolling development process that is, at the same time, usable by a wider range of developers," he said.